New York-based pianist/composer Jason Yeager’s music is deeply expressive and multi-faceted. His evolving musical personality reflects his love of jazz and improvisation combined with an openness to exploring many of the world’s great musical styles and traditions. Yeager’s music is jazz, featuring plenty of improvisation, while incorporating elements such as Vietnamese Buddhist chant-inspired melodies, drum ‘n’ bass rhythms, classical music, Argentine folk styles and more.
Originally from the Boston area, Jason has been playing the piano for over 16 years and has led various groups, including his current project, the Jason Yeager Trio. With this group featuring Tal Gamlieli on bass and Michael Gleichman on drums, he is now releasing his debut CD, Ruminations, on Inner Circle Music. The Trio’s close friendship and spirit of collaboration animated the rehearsals for and recording of this CD, a process through which improvisational communication between the musicians continues to deepen and expand.
Jason’s interests are diverse, and extend beyond music. An International Relations major at Tufts University, Jason graduated from the 5-year Tufts University/New England Conservatory Double Degree Program with a Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa) in International Relations from Tufts and a Bachelor of Music with honors from NEC. Like his mentor and teacher, the renowned pianist Danilo Pérez, Jason believes that music can be a force for good, with the healing capacity to bring people together and contribute positively to our world. Jason hopes to do his part by someday fusing his interests in music and social justice.
While at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Jason studied with some of the world’s most dynamic and creative jazz musicians and improvisers, including not only with the aforementioned Danilo Pérez, but also with these master musicians: Fred Hersch, Jerry Bergonzi, Frank Carlberg, John McNeil and Ran Blake. Pianist Fred Hersch was a particularly strong inspiration for Jason’s approach to the piano, and for Ruminations, in particular.
Jason’s formative training in both classical music and jazz included private and class study with many other wonderful teachers, including Dan Loschen, Kyle Aho and Milton Academy’s jazz director, bassist Bob Sinicrope.
In keeping with Jason’s worldview and his deep interest in international relations, Jason volunteered at the Funcadión Danilo Pérez in Panama last year, working in music educational settings for children in poverty-ridden communities.
A consummate musician, Jason incorporates musical elements from a diverse array of sources into his new CD, Ruminations, including rhythms from South America, modern and traditional classical music, and the spirit of jazz improvisation that is the hallmark of his musical heroes. As a teenage student at Milton Academy, Jason went on two concert and educational tours of South Africa with the renowned Milton Academy Jazz Program, led by Bob Sinicrope. In college, he spent a semester studying abroad (through Tufts) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Buenos Aires, he continued his studies in international relations while studying music at the IUNA (Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte). He played with a number of outstanding jazz musicians while in Argentina, including the great Argentine drummer Pipi Piazzolla (grandson of Astor). These experiences abroad have allowed Jason to connect with many people and cultures, bringing him in touch with some of the inspirations that would go on to help shape Ruminations.
In addition to participating in recording projects by his peers, Jason recently collaborated and recorded with mentor and pianist/composer Ran Blake on the iconic musician’s tribute to the late jazz composer/theorist George Russell, soon to be released on the HatHut label.
Jason has performed throughout the Northeast, in jazz clubs such as the Regattabar, Ryles Jazz Club and the Lily Pad in the Boston/Cambridge area, Shrine and Miles’ Cafe in New York City and concert halls such as Jordan Hall and the David Friend Recital Hall in Boston. In Argentina he performed at Buenos Aires’ jazz clubs Thelonious and Vesuvio and in South Africa at The Green Dolphin, The University of Cape Town, and several other venues throughout that country.
Jason aspires to create music that is highly personal and expressive, as he continues to immerse himself in the great traditions of jazz and various styles from around the world. What’s more, Jason hopes his music can make a positive impact on people and communities. Danilo Perez conveyed to him that music is a community endeavor . . . a social force that can bring people together and inspire peace and cooperation. With this idea, Jason hopes to continue to create meaningful and personal music that contributes positively to our world.
Tal Gamlieli is a composer and bassist who has performed with renowned artists like Danilo Pérez and Joanne Brackeen, in addition to performing and studying with top musicians in his native Israel. He is the winner of a Downbeat Magazine award for best jazz instrumental performance.
Drummer and composer Michael Gleichman is winner of numerous awards for his musicianship and virtuosity that includes a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Star selection. He is endorsed by Bosphorus cymbals.